Publisher: ICU Press
Calling all Usagi Yojimbo readers, kung-fu fanatics, and history buffs! Perhaps you missed when creator Ben Costa won a Xeric Grant and published volume 1 of Pang the Wandering Shaolin Monk. Don’t make the same mistake twice, not when Pang volume 2 is available through this month’s catalog!
A sheltered soul raised from infancy in a seventeenth century Buddhist monastery, Pang is caught up in the bloody tides of history. Aristocratic Chinese military families vie for control of the Middle Kingdom, segregating the population by race, religion, and loyalties. Shaolin monks, famed for their fierce fighters and their allegiance to the deposed power, die by the thousands in raids on their remote temples. Through it all, the reader follows Pang, an innocent in the conflict, as he gains greater understanding of not just the politics that left him injured and homeless, but the people and the world outside his brotherhood.
Creator Ben Costa structures his story in a way that welcomes folks who don’t know the first thing about feudal Chinese history without ever talking down to the reader or pulling his punches. Walking hand in hand with Pang, the reader learns as he learns and understands when those around him explain. The plot unfolds like a child growing up: starting in security, growing in awareness of trouble in his family, interacting with strangers, relying on new friends, traveling further from home, making the best possible decisions with limited knowledge—Pang sought enlightenment within his home, but it is outside the smoldering remains of his temple that he and the reader will find understanding of his place in history.
~ Sarah Martinez